The right to a fair trial is a basic principle of the rule of law in democratic societies, securing the right to a proper administration of justice. What makes the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) special in comparison with other international instruments is the possibility granted to any individual to file a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). ECtHR cases are imbued with a ‘preventive’ impact: judges, courts, and tribunals in Signatory States to the ECHR are required to take into consideration Article 6 and the ECtHR’s case law when handling and deciding cases. The copious case law of the ECtHR has led to an expansion of the number of specific rights deserving protection under the general category of the right to a fair trial, thus greatly enhancing the fundamental human rights that are listed in almost all international conventions and numerous state constitutions.
This book focuses on the right to a fair trial as set forth in the ECHR and examines the guarantees provided by Article 6 both in civil and in criminal proceedings. Its coverage is wide-ranging but incisive, and includes such issues and topics as the following:
meaning of ‘civil right’ and ‘criminal charge’;
disputes related to specific areas such as education, employment, and taxation;
applicability to administrative proceedings, military courts, arbitrations, international tribunals, and ‘hybrid’ courts;
admissibility and assessment of evidence;
right to a decision within a reasonable time;
standing before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU);
right to the free assistance of an interpreter;
individual case conflicts and possible resolutions;
procedure before the hearing takes place; and use of modern technology.
Numerous full paragraphs of important ECtHR decisions are included in the text, setting at the reader’s disposal relevant passages and reducing research time. The authors also provide two schemes recommending steps that domestic courts should follow to keep the process within the boundaries of a fair trial.